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Nonprofit Social Media 101: The Basics

Is your nonprofit social media in tip-top shape? Chances are your donors – or the people you’d like to become donors– are actively using one or more social media sites every day. When you create a consistent presence on social media, you boost donor awareness of what you do and who you serve. You also begin to create a circle of followers who you can rely on when you have a need or event. The only drawback of social media for nonprofits is the amount of time it takes to get started. The suggestions below will help you identify the right networks, create a useful presence, and make the most of the time you have to spend online.

nonprofit social media guide

Nonprofit Social Media Best Practices

Here are the basics.

Assign a Social Media Manager.

Someone on your team needs to take ownership of this role. Often, nonprofit social media management and updates will fall under the marketing or development departments. However, if you have someone who is already well-versed with social media, then that staffer would be a great pick. You should use an employee, not a volunteer, since your efforts need to be consistent and regular and a volunteer may only be available occasionally. This person will need to create updates as detailed below and should be comfortable using a computer or device to do so. Chances are most of your team already has an adequate skill set and someone may be able to take this project on.

Choose the Right Platform.

It is tempting to try everything at once, but it is far better for your brand to choose one platform that connects with your prospective givers and use that one thoroughly. You can always add a second site later. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram are all ideal choices, but the right nonprofit social media for you will be the one what your donors use most. You can share amazing images on Instagram, but if your target donors are all using Facebook every day (and Instagram only rarely), then you’re wasting your efforts. Think about your most likely donors and choose a platform that they are already using.

Create a Content Calendar.

Since your materials only work if they truly connect with readers and serve a purpose, you should have a plan. Each month, sit down and create a calendar to post from. Your social media person can write the actual updates and find pictures and details, but a calendar will help them know what to post. In the beginning, aim for at least 3 posts a week, and increase over time. Your calendar should include relevant content, as detailed below.

Post the Right Content.

For a nonprofit that serves the community, you have a wide range of topics to post about. Start by filling your calendar with posts about upcoming events. This can be anything from a class or program for the community you serve to details about an upcoming cold weather clothing drive. Next, fill in several posts about your mission, your general needs and your organization or volunteers. Lastly, use a few of your posts to highlight your good works, other community events your donors might like to know about, and news that anyone interested in your topic area can use. This mix prevents your nonprofit social media posts from all being the same, or all being about money and giving.

Use a Scheduler.

You don’t have to write posts every day. Use a free scheduling tool to write them in advance and have them added to your social media platforms automatically. When you do this, you can see the posts ahead of time, make changes as needed, and not have to worry about being online all the time.

Follow Best Posting Practices.

The privacy of both your donors and your end recipients matter, so never post an image of anyone without their signed consent. If you regularly use social media for your personal life, this is a slight change. Make sure you have permission before sharing anyone’s images and identifying details to ensure you protect everyone’s privacy. Most businesses who support you will be delighted to be identified, but individuals may vary.

Social media can have a profound impact on your ability to connect with donors and to showcase what you do. Using it the right way ensures you are not only getting the most from this valuable marketing tool, it ensures you are using best practices for protecting privacy and donor details, too.


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